If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar,
and there remember that your brother has something
against you, leave your offering there before the altar,
and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother,
and then come and present your offering.
Tuesday, the discipleship group began its first lesson in the series pierced. The base scripture, Matthew 5:23-24 highlights a lesson from our Lord who highlighted an important truth key to keeping peaceful and healthy relationships.
Jesus says, “If therefore you…remember that your brother has something against you…” If you come to church, and the thought crosses your mind that a brother or sister has been hurt by you, Jesus gives instructions on what we are to do. I love that he simply says an offering. No matter what the circumstances are with the type of offering or even the urgency of the offering, Jesus says, leave it!
Our relationship with God is our first priority! We are to put God first in all we do; right? The word says, seek you first the “His Kingdom and His Righteousness”! Yet, Jesus says, “…leave your offering…first be reconciled…” We tend to forget that we are a part of “His Kingdom” and that our interaction with each other are also to be demonstrations and illustrations of “His Righteousness.”
From this, we looked into this “first be reconciled” and the since of urgency God places on restoring and healing relationship with our fellow man. While looking into this urgency, we discovered that many, if not all of us have been hurt, or have hurt someone.
There are two ways we discussed that one can be hurt or hurt someone:
1. Intentional 2. Unintentional
What we love about Jesus’s words, is that He doesn’t give weight to either in His instructions. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you hurt someone intentionally or unintentionally! The instruction is to reconcile the relationship!
This was an important part of the lesson. Many of us lack sense of urgency when we feel people are hurt unintentionally.
Words like: 1. Super Sensitive 2. Exaggerating 3. Misunderstanding 4 Overreacting
…allow us to justify not making quick restoration or not restoring a relationship at all. This is wrong! We drag our feet, or feel justified with the injury as though we are not held responsible for the injury.
The question asked about hurt was made clearer after the illustration by Sister Ashlee. The Dermal Piercing showed the process on placing the plate which holds the jewelry in place.
Image B: Dermal Piercing Tools
The plate is put beneath the skin by the piercer, who drill through skin, cutting into the flesh, to create a hole in the body. With a knife, the skin is separated from flesh, to make a space for the plate. This plate is forced in by using the leverage of the piercer and the flexibility of the skin.
The two holes Ashlee taught (picture in Image B.) are important to the lesson. The holes are designed to make the plate permanent. Once the plate is in place, the skin heals and the flesh stabilizes the plate by growing through the holes.
The question was asked of the group: How many permanent plates do you have? And how many permanent plates have you placed? The answered varied about the amount of plates, and the testimony about the amount of plates placed were answered with self reflection.
Yes, it is tough to consider how many people we have wounded. When we consider our ways, we should be thankful that God has forgiven us. The reality is, we have all wounded someone. Somewhere, someone is limping because of our loose tongue and or immature or mean ways. Someone is filled with doubt because of your sharp tongue. Someone avoids the mirror because of your critical words. Someone is depressed because of your actions and treatment of them. Someone hasn’t stepped foot in a church because of the way you treated them. Yes, our churches are also zones filled with “friendly fire”.
Take the time to make a list of people you have wounded.
While it is easy to recount who has harmed us, it can be challenging to face the fact that we have caused someone the same pain we experienced ourselves.
Because we have all been hurt, the reality is that the man or woman Jesus used in his example could have been one that was experiencing trauma not just from the man or woman that offended him, but that the pain was the result of a prior wound created by someone else.
It is also more painful to remove the plate as it is to place the plate.
To remove the plate requires not only the cutting of the skin, but the cutting deeper of the flesh to remove the plate. This is what many of us experience. Since it is difficult and painful to deal with hurts, many of us choose to allow the plate to remain. Thus, it sits as a land mine, causing further pain to the one pierced and to those who cross the path of this wounded vessel. Yes, hurt people hurt people! And we must heal!
We as friends and family must be patient as God uses us to help remove the plates from the lives of others. We must be patient as He brings us through, revealing the error of our ways, and His purpose for allowing us to be injured. We know that all things are working for good, and that in due time, God will reveal His plan and the roll for all of our experiences.
Who do you need to reach out too?
The Word from Jesus is to restore the relationship. The urgency placed on His instructions is because He knows the longer the relationship goes without restoration, the more difficult it will be to restore. Furthermore, the emphasis is that wounding people is dangerous, thus we must stop wounding people! In this, I stated that the world and church was filled with people who we have placed not just one plate, but multiple plates on. There are people walking around blinged out because of you, so stop it! Let’s stop offending one another and seek to bring about God’s Kingdom on earth! One filled with peace and worship!
Next week: Pierced: Help!